A Gettysburg Christmas Movie Set For Holiday Release
A small town in Pennsylvania known for its Civil War past may find a new place in history when the movie A Gettysburg Christmas hits the big screen during the 2023 holiday season.
Already known as a bucket list destination for Civil War buffs, Gettysburg gained notoriety among history enthusiasts after the release of the movie Gettysburg in 1993.
But A Gettysburg Christmas is not about the Civil War. It’s not even about history. (Although glimpses of history are impossible to miss in Gettysburg).
No, A Gettysburg Christmas is about family. And restoration. And hope.
As a long-time resident of Gettysburg, I have been hearing questions surrounding the filming of A Gettysburg Christmas and its upcoming release.
Here’s everything you need to know about this sweet holiday movie set in Gettysburg.
“The movie ‘A Gettysburg Christmas’ is a Christmas card to the nation.”
— Kris Webb
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Table of Contents
The Key Players Behind A Gettysburg Christmas
The screenwriter and director of A Gettysburg Christmas is Bo Brinkman, who first came to Gettysburg in the early 90s to film the movie Gettysburg.
Already a history lover, Brinkman fell in love with the town while playing the role of Major Walter H. Taylor in this iconic film that is celebrating its 30th anniversary at the Majestic Theater in October, 2023.
“The architecture is the first thing that caught my eye,” Brinkman said, “but the people of Gettysburg are so friendly, I really fell in love with the town.”
The Gettysburg Christmas movie would not have happened without the local connection of Kris Webb, a Gettysburg native and business owner who first met Brinkman during the filming of Gettysburg.
Since they both had a passion for history and the community of Gettysburg, they envisioned doing something more in the historic small town. For years Kris looked for a project that could provide Gettysburg with another cinematic boost.
“We both just wanted to give back to the town,” Webb said, noting that tourist numbers increased after the movie Gettysburg was released, but then began a steady decline. “We wanted to reinvigorate the town and share the community with a new group of people.”
This new Gettysburg movie is set in modern times and based on the book “A Gettysburg Christmas” by local resident and author Craig Rupp.
“We had a vision, and sat at the kitchen table going over everything scene by scene, story by story,” Webb, who is an associate producer on the film, said. “We wanted to splash something beautiful on the town.”
The book “A Gettysburg Christmas” is about a mysterious angel that appears during a Christmas visit to Gettysburg to help restore family trust and find true love.
Is A Gettysburg Christmas A Hallmark Movie?
This is probably the #1 question that everyone asks about the Christmas movie filmed in Gettysburg in January 2023.
No. A Gettysburg Christmas is not a Hallmark movie. In fact, Brinkman said he steered away from the romantic, Hallmark screenwriting formula.
“We took our time. It’s shot like a film, with beautifully crafted scenes and fantastic actors,” Brinkman said. “The chemistry of the talent was just amazing, which can be seen on the screen.”
Part of the reason for that great chemistry may be that most of the cast of the film are friends of Brinkman’s.
“I couldn’t be happier with the talent that this film has in it,” Brinkman said. “I’m thankful that when I called on friends, they said, yes.”
Being an actor himself, Brinkman has friends that aren’t just regular actors. They’re household names. Even non-moviegoers like me recognize many of those who are in A Gettysburg Christmas.
A Gettysburg Christmas Movie Cast
One of the actors appearing in A Gettysburg Christmas movie, is Lee Majors, best known for his role as the “Six Million Dollar Man” that aired in the 1970s. (Although some may remember him for his role as Heath Barkley from the television show called Big Valley, way back in the 60s).
In the movie A Gettysburg Christmas, Majors plays “Charlie,” a somewhat mysterious Christmas “Spirit” who brings to life the magic of Christmas.
Another major actor in the film is Tom Vera who played lead roles in “Narco Sub,” “The Shipment,” “If I could Ride” and the upcoming film “The Great American Action Hero.”
In this Gettysburg Christmas movie, Vera’s character, “Ryan” comes to Gettysburg with his girlfriend to visit his disillusioned sister over the holiday season.
Brinkman said A Gettysburg Christmas was fun to shoot, partly because of the tight bond among the cast, and partly because it was such a festive time of year.
Filming took place for 15 days in January, and the residents of Gettysburg left Christmas decorations in place until everything wrapped up the beginning of February.
Where Was A Gettysburg Christmas Movie Filmed?
A Gettysburg Christmas was shot throughout the town of Gettysburg and the surrounding area.
In downtown Gettysburg, filming took place on Lincoln Square, The Pub, The Lark (gift shop), The Christmas Haus, and the well known Gettysburg Hotel, which was tranformed into a ski lodge.
Other Gettysburg movie film locations were The Farnsworth House, the Dobbin House Tavern, Mr. G’s Ice Cream, and Showers Tree Farm outside of Gettysburg.
Brinkman said his favorite scene is one that was shot downtown with Lee Majors sitting on a bench and had Christmas carolers in the background.
“It’s just a nice, poignant scene,” he said. “It’s a really sweet, heartwarming story.”
If you enjoy a small-town holiday vibe, check out Christmas in Bethlehem.
Gettysburg Is The Star In This Christmas Movie
The true “star” of A Gettysburg Christmas movie is the town itself, both literally and figuratively.
Not only is the town showcased in the scenes, but both Brinkman and Webb were amazed at the help they received from town officials and residents.
“The support from the town was overwhelming,” Brinkman said. “We’ve never had that kind of response before.”
Webb agreed, saying it was just a beautiful experience how everyone pitched in and helped.
“It was just amazing how it all lined up,” she said. “This town could not have wrapped their arms around us more than they did. At times, it brought me to tears.”
Gettysburg Christmas Movie Extras
A Gettysburg Christmas movie was not only filmed in Gettysburg, using local businesses and scenery, but it also involved the community from beginning to end.
Members of the town were cast as extras, and local residents also helped the film crew.
According to Webb, there were 275 extras, with most of them planning to attend the premier.
“Iconic people and business owners are laced throughout the movie to make it a time capsule for Gettysburg,” Webb said. “We wanted to honor the small businesses who are the heartbeat of the town.”
Even though the movie isn’t centered on history, there is a scene with 19th century Christmas carolers walking by, as well as Civil War reenactors sitting at the Farnsworth House.
“That’s because that’s what we as townspeople would see over the holidays,” Webb said. “People who watch the movie will see it just as we live it and we love it.”
Webb said they also hired local production assistants, and two high school seniors learned about setting up the cameras and use of drones. A local Girl Scout who wanted to learn more about the film industry was given access to see how it all works.
“It was a beautiful experience, and we found some real gems,” Webb said. “Just real, authentic people that live in Gettysburg.”
Webb noted that it was also important to her to keep the set as open as possible for the local residents to be able to see what was happening.
“There were no fences to keep people out,” she said. “That was important so that everyone could feel a part of it. It was tangible.”
Snow A No-Show For A Gettysburg Christmas Movie
Even though the filming of A Gettysburg Christmas was done in January of 2023, there was only one day of very light snow.
Brinkman said they moved the schedule around that day to get some shots at a local Christmas tree farm. “They are really pretty shots,” he said. “With a light layer of snow on the ground, it was a fun scene to shoot.”
Since other scenes also need snow, part of post-production involves adding snow through computer software to 82 other shots in the film. It’s a time-consuming and costly process, so Brinkman is happy that they got at least one day of the white stuff.
At the end of August, Brinkman was working on the audio mix, and was happy with the pace of the post-post production process.
He plans to have the snow scenes finished by the end of September and a print of the film completed by October.
When Is A Gettysburg Christmas Movie Release Date?
The second most asked question is, “When is the Gettysburg Christmas movie release date?”
A premier of A Gettysburg Christmas, which is sold out, will be held at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg on November 27, 2023.
Additional showings to coincide with the Gettysburg Christmas Festival are in the works, as are national showings.
Check here for dates and locations for showings of A Gettysburg Christmas movie. Updated regularly.
It is hoped that A Gettysburg Christmas movie will continue to be shown year after year to coincide with the Festival and kick off the holiday season.
“It will be a lasting tribute to 2023,” Webb said. “A piece of time captured forever.”
Gettysburg On The Big Screen Times Two
The release of A Gettysburg Christmas movie coincides with the 30th anniversary of the epic Civil War film about the Battle of Gettysburg.
Director Ron Maxwell and many members of the cast, including Brinkman, will gather in Gettysburg in October for screenings of the movie and panel discussions.
You can find a complete list of the Gettysburg anniversary events here.
The Majestic Theater on Carlisle Street will be showing the film on October 13 and October 14, with a discussion of the film by actors and the director Ron Maxwell on the 14th. (Sold Out)
On October 15, the Ron Maxwell’s movie Copperhead will be featured, along with a panel after the show.
The movie Gettysburg was a great economic boost for the historic town, and it is hoped that A Gettysburg Christmas movie will do the same.
Karl Pietrzak, President and CEO of Destination Gettysburg, said he expects the film will help capture the atmosphere and experience that visitors find in Gettysburg during the holiday season.
“Once viewers see how truly spirited this town is, we anticipate that A Gettysburg Christmas will draw visitors for many years to come.”
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Wrap-Up Of A Gettysburg Christmas
Set against the backdrop of historic landmarks and charming local shops, A Gettysburg Christmas movie is set to kick off the holiday season in a big way.
The brick-lined streets, with wreaths hanging from lamp posts and a large tree in Lincoln Square provide the perfect backdrop for this heartwarming holiday movie that intertwines the magic of Christmas with the rich history of Gettysburg.
“A Gettysburg Christmas” may indeed become a holiday classic for anyone looking forward to enjoying the wonder and magic of the holiday season.